Omniveillance – The Shame of Opting Out

November 24th, 2010

Scott Peppet has an interesting post at Concurring Opinions about the shame of opting out of Google Street View. It seems that Germans are egging the houses of inhabitants who opted out of Google Street View! Scott writes:

Various news outlets are reporting that Google “fans” in Germany have been egging the roughly 3% of houses whose inhabitants have chosen to opt out of Google’s Street View mapping feature.


Apparently the vandals left notes saying “Google is cool.”  So maybe this is just a “how dare you question anything Google?” protest.

Egging is just a more crude version; in this example, it’s not that those who opted out are the “worst” members of a given pool (as in true unraveling scenarios) and are therefore discriminated against, but simply that others are pushing back against the right to opt out itself because it impedes unfettered access to all the information they want.

What’s next? If you won’t stream real-time data about your health (do you have the flu? other communicable diseases?) into your vicinity to warn others to walk on the other side of the street, will people heckle you? If you won’t display your criminal record prominently in digital form so that others can “see” (using their digital devices) whether you’re a sex offender or felon of some sort, will they assume you’re a criminal (unraveling) or harrass you for your “privacy” (like the German eggers)?

I wrote about the blurring of faces in Omniveillance, and noted that this is not a complete solution. Now, even those who choose to opt-out are still scorned and ridiculed.